Folk MIDI Song Files
A list of the best web sites hosting MIDI files for Folk music, mostly free downloads.
You can turn any of these files into free sheet music with easy-to-use sheet music software.
Midi Melodies - This is the home page for Frank Petersohn's extensive collection of MIDIs and lyrics for folk songs from around the world. Click on the name of a country to look at songs from that country or click on "Folk songs of the World" to go to an inclusive alphabetic index. Some songs have only the lyrics given; if there is a MIDI file available for the song, you can click on "Melody" after the song title to download the MIDI file.
Folk songs Words and Tunes - Great source of lyrics for folks songs from Britain, Ireland, and the USA. One area of Ron Clarke's great resource site.
Jim Bottorff's Banjo Page - This site is a wonderful resource for banjo players. There are a large number of MIDI files to download, including tuning sequences so that you can play along with your computer in tune and a beginner's play-along page with easier transcriptions.
The Cats Whiskers Barn Dance Band - The band's website hosts a number of resources for dancers, callers, and musicians. Specifically for MIDI files, you can click the "Midi" link to access their MIDI files of a variety of dance tunes, most of which are single-melody lines. These are great for whistle, fiddle, or other solo instruments.
"Cimbalom" Hungarian Folk - This site hosts a large and rich collection of over 3500 MIDI files of Hungarian melodies. The first page gives much background and hints for using the site. To find the MIDI files, use the navigation buttons at the top of the page to go to the various "styles" pages. You can then find and download the MIDI files you want.
Folk Songs of the World - This huge English and German language site, owned by Richard Kopp, contains hundreds of MIDI files for music in these categories: Chorale Hymns, 1912 Lutheran Hymnal, 1916 Episcopal Hymnal, Olney Hymns 1779, Christmas Songs, Sea Songs, Workers Songbook 1915, Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Irish Melodies 1806-34, Civil War Songs, War Songs, Hiking Songs, Hunting Songs, Low German Songs, and Drinking Songs. To download the MIDI file, click the word link "Melody" to the right of song's name.
Filipino Folk Songs - A collection of Filipino folk songs in MIDI format, gathered by Sanny Tendilla. Scroll down the page to find the song list, and click on the "MIDI" text link next to the title to go to the page where you can download the tune.
Blue Grass Tunes in MIDI - A collection of bluegrass tunes, written by other people and sequenced by Ron Clarke.
Gary Allen's Bluegrass MIDI Files - "We were saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Gary Allen in June, 2004. He was one of the original contributors of MIDI Files to our site and had come to our attention by having created one of the finest collections of Bluegrass MIDI files. He was kind enough to share these with us for presentation to all visitors." To download a MIDI file, click the banjo symbol at the left of the name of the song.
Taylor's Traditional Tunebook - This site, originated by Barry Taylor, has more than 500 traditional songs from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England, and America. Use the drop-down list near the top of the page to go to the country that you are interested in.
The Great Canadian Tunebook - Barry Taylor's Canadian Tunebook site has MIDI files available for download as single songs (selecting one takes you to a page with the lyrics, and the MIDI for download), or the whole lot for single download as a zip file.
Nottingham Folk Music Database - This website has over 1000 folk tunes available in MIDI format. The front page has links to various types of tunes (jigs, reels, etc.). Click on a style to go to that page with an alphabetical listing of tunes. To download the MIDI for a tune, just click on the "MIDI" text next to the tune name.
Public Domain Music - Begun in 1998, Public Domain Music now features over 2000 MIDI files, with text file of their lyrics, of 19th century America popular music with emphasis on the works of 15 composers, including the complete works of Stephen C. Foster and Henry Clay Work, as well as music of the Civil War, hymns, spirituals, minstrel songs, ragtime piano music, blues, folk songs, and pre-1923 music.
Folkdance Midis - This large site boasts "more than 730 " folk dance tunes. The list presented on this page is grouped by country or region, with the songs listed underneath. Since this is primarily a German language site, the melodies are indexed with German spellings. Click on the word "MIDI" in the right-hand column to download the file.
Traditional Music Library - This extensive site has MIDI files and lyrics for a wide range of traditional music. Click on one of the tunebook or songbook titles in the boxes near the top of the page to get to the music. On the next page, you will need to click "See and play songs or tunes" to get to the list of songs available. The songs are listed alphabetically. To get to the page for each song, click on the Tune # to the right of the song title. Once you are on the song page, click Medium play speed (in the center) to download the MIDI file. If lyrics are available for the song, they are at the bottom of the song page. Remember, you can add lyrics to the score with Notation so that you can sing along more easily.
Popular Songs in American History - "American Folk and Traditional Music with Lyrics, Midi Files, Tune Information and History behind the folk songs and ballads. With folk songs arranged by time period." Scroll down the page to find a list of the songs (categorized by century), and click the link. On each tune's page, there are lyrics and information about the song, as well as a "Download MIDI file" button.
Francis J. Child's Ballads - "Francis J. Child's five volume work, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898), is considered by many as the "canon" of folk music. These pages are devoted to Child's work and to the ballads therein." Another tremendous site of Lesley Nelson-Burn's. Scroll down the page to find a list of the songs, and click the link. On each tune's page, there are lyrics and information about the song, as well as a "Download MIDI file" button.
Bonnie Prince Charlie - "A collection of Scottish songs relating to Prince Charles Edward Stuart's epic venture" sequenced by Christian Souchon. An entertaining and informative site, the list of works that are available are on the opening page. Click on a song title, and you will go to the page where the sound might automatically start playing. Underneath the song title you will find a link to the MIDI file, not obviously presented: the link will be named "Tune" or perhaps "Sequenced by..." Check out also the "Barzhaz Breizh" (chants of western Brittany) and "Dances of Brittany" pages.
George's Greek MIDI Site - George Logothetis's site of about 300 "Greek Oldies." The MIDI files can be downloaded only through a RealPlayertm window.
The Rhythms on Songtrellis - African, Afro-Cuban and Swing Rhythms - This web site offers an excellent source of authentic "world music" rhythms. The MIDI files are not complete "songs". Rather, they provide percussion rhythm tracks that you can use in music that you would like to create with certain ethnic sounds.
MIDI Chant - "These are MIDI files of (mostly) Gregorian Chants created by Richard Lee." They can serve as a helpful guide for reading "square note neumes".
The Kitchen Musician - This is a collection of historical Celtic, English and American tunes. The author points out that most of the MIDI arrangements are quite simple, and are intended mostly for instructional purposes.
Hetzler's Fakebook - Old Time Tunes - Edward Hetzler's web site provides many 100s of nicely prepared MIDI files. A link in the left-hand column of the web page, for "Old Time Tunes", takes you to the pages that specifically have folk tunes.
Light Folk Songs from Eastern Europe - This "resource of folk songs for Violin, Viola and Cello" is a small collection of Eastern European folk tunes arranges specifically for combinations of violin, viola, cello and piano.
Thesite - This Israeli MIDI page is in Hebrew, although the MIDI file names are in English.
Jewish MIDI Files - A smaller collection of MIDI files mostly related to important Jewish holy days and feasts. A few of the files have drum channel assignments done incorrectly, but otherwise are well-done.
JR MIDI Page - Mostly Jewis folk and holy day tunes, along with some more "pop" tunes (eg. tunes from "Fiddler on the Roof".)
Jewish Folk and Traditional - This page at Laura's MIDI Heaven has a large collection of tunes with both Hebrew and English titles. Clicking on a title brings up a pop-up box where you should click the "Download" button to download the file to your hard drive.
Congregation Etz Chaim MIDI Page - These MIDI files were prepared by Michael Greenspan, self-described as "a professional accordionist with many years experience playing and arranging ethnic, international music for public performance and for accompanying folk dance groups." Ignore the "back/next" links at the top, because they will take you to other web sites.
Middle Eastern Folk Music MIDI - A small page of middle eastern folk tunes.
Simple Gifts - These simple MIDI file arrangements by Elizabeth T. Knuth, and accompanying tablature, are for mandolin players; but the arrangements can be used for other instruments. Click the "MIDI" link next to a song name. You then might see the mandolin tablature. Scroll down past the tablature and look for the MIDI file link preceded by the words "If you like, you can hear a...".
Slovak Folk Music - 35 Slovakian folk tunes, with simply the melody line, prepared by Charlie Charlton.
Folk songs and Ballads of the Appalachians and England - "Original arrangements of folk songs and ballads from the Appalachian Mountains of the United States and from England set for two treble instruments."
Ethnic Europa Volksmusik - This webpage has ethnic songs from 25 different countries. For each country there is a single zip file containing the several MIDI files of songs.
Songs of the Sea - This collection of sea shanties (chanties) and songs of the sea is part of Lesley Nelson-Burn's excellent MIDI files web site of Folk Music of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales & America. Click the name of a song, which takes you to a page where the lyrics are displayed and the song will start playing. Click the "Download Midi File" link at the top of the page.
Chants de Marin - A collection of 119 French sea chanties. Some are very nicely done, but the quality can vary a bit as they are contributed by various persons. Click the name of a song in the left part of the page. That takes you to a page where the lyrics for the song are displayed. At the far top right corner of that page, click the link named "Ecouter la musique" to download the MIDI file.
GEST Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador - This collection of the songs of Newfoundland and Labrador, simple to complex arrangements, is organized in the left column by song title, as well as by first lines, and by the MIDI author's name. You can also search for songs by keyword using a tool in the middle of the page.
Americana - "Songs about America and American life including most of our State Songs."
Blues Page at Public Domain Music - This collection of public domain blues, 1850 to 1923, is maintained by Benjamin Robert Tubb. To download a MIDI file, click the name of the MIDI file author in the right-most column with the heading "Music".
Spirituals - "These songs could be heard out in the cottonfields of the Old South, being sung by the plantation slaves, or in the evenings coming from their shanty homes." The arrangements vary from classic spiritual sound to "easy listening".
American Spirituals and Sacred Harp Music - This is small collection is part of the Public Domain Music library.
Fiddle Tunes from the American Revolution - "A collection of fiddle tunes from the American Revolution period in MIDI music format. This collection features minuets, country dances, marches and airs, and song tunes from the personal notebook of a certain Captain George Bush, an officer in George Washington's army. Below are 54 individual MIDI file renditions of these fiddle tunes for your listening pleasure. This collection of Colonial music comes from an actual book entitled "Fiddle Tunes From The American Revolution" which contains the actual sheet music of which these songs were transcribed from." Simply click on the song title to download the MIDI file.
With the shutdown of GeoCities, a number of excellent webpages which hosted MIDI files have been lost. If you know of the new location for a website that once was here, please let us know about it!